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RE: [MedievalSawdust] Grain in joints and finishing questions

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  • Conal O'hAirt Jim Hart
    ... in a six board chest the sides and the ends SHOULD have the grain running in different directions.... cause of the feet on the ends ( a drawing would
    Message 1 of 13 , Jul 1, 2006
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      --- Chuck Phillips <chuck@...> wrote:

      > I'll pick up this gauntlet. (Why am I still awake?
      > I have to be at a
      > client in 9 hours!)
      >
      > Regarding question #1: Grain orientation matters
      > for a number of
      > reasons. Visually, it is more pleasant to have
      > continuous lines
      > wrapping around the sides. This is more noticeable
      > in a slab-sided
      > piece like a six-board chest, less so in frame and
      > panel construction.

      in a six board chest the sides and the ends
      SHOULD have the grain running in different
      directions.... 'cause of the 'feet' on the ends
      ( a drawing would better illustrate )

      Running the grain the same as the sides would make
      the feet weaker and easier to break off.



      Baron Conal O'hAirt / Jim Hart

      Aude Aliquid Dignum
      ' Dare Something Worthy '

      __________________________________________________
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    • Chuck Phillips
      Conal; You re absolutely correct. Teach me to go spouting off in the wee hours of the night. This would explain why every example of a six-board I can recall
      Message 2 of 13 , Jul 1, 2006
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        Conal;

        You're absolutely correct. Teach me to go spouting off in the wee hours
        of the night. This would explain why every example of a six-board I can
        recall has the grain oriented vertically on the ends.

        I suspect that the reasoning people are using for the original
        recommendation is the differential expansion argument. A six-board is a
        special case where other considerations override - Short grain failure
        is much more likely than joint bond failure. We are still left with the
        issue of placing end grain directly on the ground, which will eventually
        lead to rot if there is any moisture. Adding some feet will help here,
        at the cost of making the chest something other than a true six-board...

        Charles Joiner
        Rambling, running on 4 hours sleep.

        -----Original Message-----
        From: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com
        [mailto:medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Conal O'hAirt Jim
        Hart
        Sent: Saturday, July 01, 2006 5:56 AM
        To: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: RE: [MedievalSawdust] Grain in joints and finishing questions



        --- Chuck Phillips <chuck@...> wrote:

        > I'll pick up this gauntlet. (Why am I still awake?
        > I have to be at a
        > client in 9 hours!)
        >
        > Regarding question #1: Grain orientation matters
        > for a number of
        > reasons. Visually, it is more pleasant to have
        > continuous lines
        > wrapping around the sides. This is more noticeable
        > in a slab-sided
        > piece like a six-board chest, less so in frame and
        > panel construction.

        in a six board chest the sides and the ends
        SHOULD have the grain running in different
        directions.... 'cause of the 'feet' on the ends
        ( a drawing would better illustrate )

        Running the grain the same as the sides would make
        the feet weaker and easier to break off.



        Baron Conal O'hAirt / Jim Hart

        Aude Aliquid Dignum
        ' Dare Something Worthy '

        __________________________________________________
        Do You Yahoo!?
        Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
        http://mail.yahoo.com



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      • Glenn McDavid
        ... Roy Underhill discusses six-board chests in one of the _Woodwright_ books, including the differential expansion issue. Don t recall the details, but it
        Message 3 of 13 , Jul 1, 2006
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          On Sat, 1 Jul 2006, Chuck Phillips wrote:

          > I suspect that the reasoning people are using for the original
          > recommendation is the differential expansion argument. A six-board is a
          > special case where other considerations override - Short grain failure
          > is much more likely than joint bond failure.

          Roy Underhill discusses six-board chests in one of the _Woodwright_
          books, including the differential expansion issue. Don't recall the
          details, but it can be made to work.

          Glenn McDavid
          gmcdavid@...
          http://www.winternet.com/~gmcdavid
        • msgilliandurham
          ... By mechanically do you mean with nails, dowels, or screws? or by cutting a strip out of the ends (esentially making one great big finger joint) I m
          Message 4 of 13 , Jul 1, 2006
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            --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, "Chuck Phillips" <chuck@...>
            wrote:

            > Structurally, cross-grain joints are inherently weaker and
            > less durable.
            > [...] Most adhesives will
            > eventually fail in this situation, and unless you take measures to
            > mechanically lock the joint, it is destined to come apart.

            By "mechanically" do you mean with nails, dowels, or screws? or by
            cutting a strip out of the ends (esentially making one great big
            finger joint) I'm guessing both would be best.

            > With that said, I think it is more important for your design
            > to avoid small sections of short grain in the foot sections.
            > Regardless of how good a box looks, if a leg snaps off the
            > whole thing becomes firewood.

            Oh, DU'UHHH! <sigh -- *think* Gillian, THINK!>

            >
            > #2: Wax alone is a pretty poor moisture barrier. Boiled Linseed
            > Oil (or BLO) is a better barrier that will actually build a bit of
            > a film. I'm not sure why people would find it intimidating.
            > All you need to do
            > is wipe on a coat, let it soak in for a few minutes, and wipe
            > off the
            > excess. After it cures for a bit, additional coats can be wiped on
            > until the desired thickness is achieved. Once you're happy with the
            > surface film, wax will provide a smoother feel and help prevent dust
            > from sticking.

            I guess the oil seems more toxic to me than just wax -- not as
            practical to use if you are doing this in your apartment :-) -- more
            flammable, smellier, etc.

            I'd be willing to put on a wax finish in the bathroom with the
            exhaust fan running -- BLO I'd really want to do outside, which would
            mke my nosy neighbors whine to the complex management, wno would come
            down on me ...

            There's also that judgment factor of how long to let it cure, and
            the "desired thickness". All I'm saying is that there's more of a
            learning curve involved.

            And thanks for the book reference -- probably won't be able to get my
            hands on it before the class, but I'll definitely look it up.

            Thank you so much for the help -- Gillian Durham
          • msgilliandurham
            My thanks to you both -- and Milord Charles -- go get some sleep!! I m thinking the wicking up the feet issue could be solved easily enough by 1) Dipping the
            Message 5 of 13 , Jul 1, 2006
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              My thanks to you both -- and Milord Charles -- go get some sleep!!

              I'm thinking the "wicking up the feet" issue could be solved easily
              enough by

              1) Dipping the feet in warm wax until they will absorb no more wax,
              and have a thin coating on the outside

              2) setting the feet on pieces of glazed tile,

              3) capping them with boiled leather or [horrors] pleather.

              None of which are documentable, but then how many of our medieval
              ancestors left their furniture sitting outside for a week or two at a
              time, several times a year??

              [g,d, & r]

              Thanks again -- Gillian Durham

              --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, "Chuck Phillips" <chuck@...>
              wrote:
              >
              > Conal;
              >
              > You're absolutely correct. Teach me to go spouting off in the wee
              hours
              > of the night. This would explain why every example of a six-board
              I can
              > recall has the grain oriented vertically on the ends.
              >
              > I suspect that the reasoning people are using for the original
              > recommendation is the differential expansion argument. A six-board
              is a
              > special case where other considerations override - Short grain
              failure
              > is much more likely than joint bond failure. We are still left
              with the
              > issue of placing end grain directly on the ground, which will
              eventually
              > lead to rot if there is any moisture. Adding some feet will help
              here,
              > at the cost of making the chest something other than a true six-
              board...
              >
              > Charles Joiner
              > Rambling, running on 4 hours sleep.
              >
              > -----Original Message-----
              > From: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com
              > [mailto:medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Conal O'hAirt
              Jim
              > Hart
              > Sent: Saturday, July 01, 2006 5:56 AM
              > To: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com
              > Subject: RE: [MedievalSawdust] Grain in joints and finishing
              questions
              >
              >
              >
              > --- Chuck Phillips <chuck@...> wrote:
              >
              > > I'll pick up this gauntlet. (Why am I still awake?
              > > I have to be at a
              > > client in 9 hours!)
              > >
              > > Regarding question #1: Grain orientation matters
              > > for a number of
              > > reasons. Visually, it is more pleasant to have
              > > continuous lines
              > > wrapping around the sides. This is more noticeable
              > > in a slab-sided
              > > piece like a six-board chest, less so in frame and
              > > panel construction.
              >
              > in a six board chest the sides and the ends
              > SHOULD have the grain running in different
              > directions.... 'cause of the 'feet' on the ends
              > ( a drawing would better illustrate )
              >
              > Running the grain the same as the sides would make
              > the feet weaker and easier to break off.
              >
              >
              >
              > Baron Conal O'hAirt / Jim Hart
              >
              > Aude Aliquid Dignum
              > ' Dare Something Worthy '
              >
              > __________________________________________________
              > Do You Yahoo!?
              > Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
              > http://mail.yahoo.com
              >
              >
              >
              > Yahoo! Groups Links
              >
            • Conal O'hAirt Jim Hart
              ... I didn t sleep much either last night.... forgive me if I was blunt. Baron Conal O hAirt / Jim Hart Aude Aliquid Dignum Dare Something Worthy
              Message 6 of 13 , Jul 1, 2006
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                >
                > Charles Joiner
                > Rambling, running on 4 hours sleep.
                >

                I didn't sleep much either last night....
                forgive me if I was blunt.

                Baron Conal O'hAirt / Jim Hart

                Aude Aliquid Dignum
                ' Dare Something Worthy '

                __________________________________________________
                Do You Yahoo!?
                Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
                http://mail.yahoo.com
              • AlbionWood
                Most of the 16th c. six-board chests appear to have been treenailed; some appear to have used iron nails. Treenails have the advantage here as they are
                Message 7 of 13 , Jul 1, 2006
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                  Most of the 16th c. six-board chests appear to have been treenailed; some appear to have used iron nails.  Treenails have the advantage here as they are flexible, so can accommodate some cross-grain movement without splitting the boards.  Using kiln-dried quartersawn material also helps.  Thick stuff won't move as much as thinner.

                  I use Tremont nails in slightly oversize holes.  My main problem is cupping as the boards shrink in dry climates; this is exacerbated by my use of 1/2" boards for the sides (to save weight).

                  I made a couple of clamped-front chests with full 1" thick lids (milled from 5/4 lumber) treenailed to battens about 2" wide, as seen on surviving 13th to 15th c. chests.  I was worried about differential movement, but the customer reported the lid stayed flat.

                  Speaking of clamped-front chests, this is another example of a medieval technique that modern authors would say cannot work.  The joints between the legs and the panels are cross-grain, and frequently involve wide boards.  Sometimes you can see where this has indeed caused the panels to crack, but quite a lot of them look just fine.  It's possible that the peg holes in the tenons were elongated (this is what I usually do), but it's also possible that the combination of flexible pegs and thick lumber accommodates all the cross-grain movement.

                  Cheers,
                  Colin


                  msgilliandurham wrote:

                  By "mechanically" do you mean with nails, dowels, or screws? or by
                  cutting a strip out of the ends (esentially making one great big
                  finger joint) I'm guessing both would be best.



                • msgilliandurham
                  ... I m guessing from the context that treenailing is using some kind of narrow pegs as if they were metal nails -- but could you elaborate, please? ...
                  Message 8 of 13 , Jul 1, 2006
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                    --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, AlbionWood <albionwood@...>
                    wrote:
                    >
                    > Most of the 16th c. six-board chests appear to have been
                    > treenailed; some appear to have used iron nails.

                    I'm guessing from the context that "treenailing" is using some kind
                    of narrow pegs as if they were metal nails -- but could you
                    elaborate, please?

                    > I use Tremont nails in slightly oversize holes. My main problem is
                    > cupping as the boards shrink in dry climates; this is exacerbated
                    > by my use of 1/2" boards for the sides (to save weight).
                    >
                    > It's possible that
                    > the peg holes in the tenons were elongated (this is what I usually
                    > do), but it's also possible that the combination of flexible pegs
                    > and thick lumber accommodates all the cross-grain movement.

                    Elongated how, please?

                    Also, the book which started my thinking about this issue, says
                    that "when assembing a box or drawer [this is one where the grain of
                    all four sides is the same] turn the boards so tha annuual rings
                    curve out [...] The board's natural tendency to cup will keep the
                    corner joints tight at the edges."

                    Gillian [grateful with the patience of this group for her questions!]
                    Durham
                  • albionwood
                    ... Treenails are basically wooden nails. There really isn t much difference between pegs and treenails, except the latter sounds cooler. It s more the way
                    Message 9 of 13 , Jul 1, 2006
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                      --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, "msgilliandurham"
                      <msgilliandurham@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > > I'm guessing from the context that "treenailing" is using some kind
                      > of narrow pegs as if they were metal nails -- but could you
                      > elaborate, please?

                      Treenails are basically wooden nails. There really isn't much
                      difference between pegs and treenails, except the latter sounds
                      cooler. It's more the way they are used that's different: Treenailing
                      implies (to me at least) fixing one board atop another, whereas
                      pegging is a way to lock mortise and tenon joints together.

                      Note well, however, that these terms aren't rigidly defined, so other
                      writers may use them in different ways. (I think in boatbuilding a
                      treenail means a peg with a head, like an unthreaded bolt, so it can't
                      be pulled through a board. But what I know about boatbuilding
                      wouldn't cloud your vision if it was in your eye, so...)

                      >
                      > Elongated how, please?

                      When pegging a wide, cross-grain mortise-and-tenon joint, you can
                      elongate the peg holes in the tenon so that the tenoned board can move
                      without opening up the joint. For example, a breadboard end might be
                      fixed with three (or five) pegs. The center one is done the usual way
                      (i.e. drawbored - the hole in the tenon is offset slightly toward the
                      shoulder, relative to the holes in the mortise) so all movement is
                      away from the center. The other holes (also drawbored) can be
                      elongated slightly across the grain, so that the tabletop can shrink
                      or swell without cracking.

                      I don't think this was ordinarily done much in the MA because thick
                      riven planks don't actually move that much, and because the pegs are
                      flexible enough to accommodate some movement. But I wouldn't be
                      surprised to see it on clamped-front chests or tabletops in the late MA.


                      > Also, the book which started my thinking about this issue, says
                      > that "when assembing a box or drawer [this is one where the grain of
                      > all four sides is the same] turn the boards so tha annuual rings
                      > curve out [...] The board's natural tendency to cup will keep the
                      > corner joints tight at the edges."

                      This is true only if the board is losing moisture and shrinking. The
                      outside of a log shrinks more than the inside, so it cups opposite the
                      curvature of the rings. It's also only true for plainsawn (flatsawn)
                      lumber. Quartersawn lumber has little tendency to cup.

                      Cheers,
                      Colin
                    • Chuck Phillips
                      Conal; Even if intended (and I m sure none was), no offense was taken. This is one of the most civil mailing lists I ve even subscribed to. Charles Joiner A
                      Message 10 of 13 , Jul 2, 2006
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                        Conal;

                        Even if intended (and I'm sure none was), no offense was taken. This is
                        one of the most civil mailing lists I've even subscribed to.

                        Charles Joiner
                        A little better rested now, watching Le Tour on the TV.

                        -----Original Message-----
                        From: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com
                        [mailto:medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Conal O'hAirt Jim
                        Hart
                        Sent: Saturday, July 01, 2006 12:41 PM
                        To: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com
                        Subject: RE: [MedievalSawdust] Grain in joints and finishing questions


                        >
                        > Charles Joiner
                        > Rambling, running on 4 hours sleep.
                        >

                        I didn't sleep much either last night....
                        forgive me if I was blunt.

                        Baron Conal O'hAirt / Jim Hart

                        Aude Aliquid Dignum
                        ' Dare Something Worthy '

                        __________________________________________________
                        Do You Yahoo!?
                        Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
                        http://mail.yahoo.com



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                      • Geffrei Maudeleyne
                        A short story on grain. In High School we designed and built our own furniture instead of bird houses. I designed a game table with a checkerboard in the
                        Message 11 of 13 , Jul 2, 2006
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                          A short story on grain.

                           

                          In High School we designed and built our own furniture instead of bird houses. I designed a game table with a checkerboard in the middle. The board had all of it’s grain going in one direction. Then I wrapped it in a frame of walnut with the grain going along the sides of the checkerboard. I filled out the bulk the table top with poplar that ran in two directions and then banded the eight sided table top with walnut that ran in four different directions. The walnut came from someone’s grandfather’s barn attic, many years old. The poplar was kiln dried.

                           

                          My shop teacher was in on all of this planning and execution. He should have been executed. We built our projects an hour a day for several months so it did not get a finish until late in the game. By then it was too late anyway. Wood, even when removed from the tree grows and shrinks. I had to fight the top to re-glue all the joints when they pushed each other apart. In disgust, the table now has a painted piece of birch plywood.

                           

                          Projects like the 6 board box have room for the legs to get longer etc. you have just an angle to another.

                           

                          Compare to:

                          -l-l-l

                          l-l-l-

                          -l-l-l

                          If the lines crudely denote grain direction. The interior swelling and shrinking directly affects every other joint. Adding things like dovetails, biscuits, dowels and pegs also affect your results.

                           

                          Geffrei


                          From: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com [mailto:medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of msgilliandurham
                          Sent: Friday, June 30, 2006 9:07 PM
                          To: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com
                          Subject: [MedievalSawdust] Grain in joints and finishing questions

                           


                          My thanks in advance for any responses I get to the questions below.
                          (and yes, this group will get *heavy* mention in my class next
                          weekend! :-)

                          Question one:
                          I've been reading some books on modern carpentry (filling in the big
                          honking gaps in my very rough-and-ready knowledge) and one of them
                          insists that for a box with a lid, the front, back, and sides of the
                          box all need to have the grain running the same way, (i.e., parallel to
                          the bottom) or "the joints will fail".

                          trimmed for digest users.

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